The Catholic Review organizes a pilgrimage to the Papal Mass in Philadelphia

Twitter: @Catholic Review | @ArchBalt

[UPDATED 9/26/15 with final departure information.]

Departure locations and times:

  • Calvert Hall College HS, 8102 LaSalle Rd., Baltimore (Towson) 21286 – Check-in 8:45 a.m., departure 9:30 a.m.
  • Holy Family Parish, 826 W. Central Ave, Davidsonville, 21035. – Check-in 8:15 a.m., Departure 9 a.m. (Please park in the very back of the parking lot. Look for signs.)
  • Frederick News Post, 351 Ballenger Center DR., Frederick, 21703. – Check-in 8:15 a.m., Departure 9 a.m.
  • Amtrak, Baltimore Penn Station, 1500 N Charles St., Baltimore 21201 – Check-in 5-5:15 a.m., Departure 6:08 a.m.
  • For buses from parishes and schools, consult your group leader for departure information.
Additional information:
You must have a signed waiver to ride the bus. Find the waiver form at the bottom of the page here, and bring it with you when you check in, if you have not submitted it already.

When you arrive at your departing location on Sunday morning, please look for a check-in table or a representative who is handling the check-in process. The primary registrant for your group should check in for all in the group. At that time, you will receive:

  • The bus number that you have been assigned (please note that you must ride the same bus to and from Philadelphia — this is VERY important.)
  • A wrist-band with your bus number and the cell phone number of your “bus captain” in the event of an emergency during the day. Please wear your wrist-band.
  • A plastic carry bag, with a walking map, two bottles of water, and a commemorative Francis in America hat and rosary. An additional bottle of water will be available to everyone upon your return to your bus Sunday after Mass.
  • If you purchased a SEPTA train pass for transportation from the drop off location in Philadelphia to downtown Philadelphia and the Mass location, you will receive those passes UPON ARRIVAL in Philadelphia.
  • You ARE permitted to bring food on the bus, as well as your own drinks. You are permitted to bring food on the train, and there is a dining car on the train. There will also be food vendors and food trucks within the venue in Philadelphia.
  • We suggest you bring a poncho or rain jacket in the event of inclement weather.
  • Don’t forget to check the list of prohibited items and other information for your visit. Prohibited items will be taken away at security and will be disposed.
  • You MAY leave items on your seat on the bus. However, we suggest you do not leave valuables on the bus, even though it will be locked and secured throughout the day once we arrive in Philadelphia. You may not leave any items on the train.
  • If all goes well, we anticipate the buses will leave Philadelphia by 8pm on Sunday evening, returning to our departure locations approximately 10:30 p.m.
  • The train departs 9:30 p.m. Please check in in advance at the gathering spot designated by the group captains.



Tickets for the one-day bus pilgrimage from the Archdiocese of Baltimore to the papal Mass in Philadelphia will go on sale online June 29, at 10 a.m. There are a very limited amount of tickets available. 

The cost of the daylong pilgrimage is $99 for the bus. The train cost is $159 for adults, $154 for seniors (62 and older), and $119 for children (ages 2-12). Anyone under the age of 18, on the bus or train, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Before purchasing tickets, please read the following terms and conditions. 

Failure to comply with the terms and conditions may result in the forfeiting of your ticket.


D.C. Stop Of Pope Francis Trip Includes White House, Congress

We need to pass on some very important information that was provided to us by the World Meeting of Families organizers earlier this week.

Upon arrival in Philadelphia Sept. 27, our buses will park at the Philadelphia sports complex that contains their football stadium, baseball stadium and sports and entertainment arena. It’s located only 1/4 mile off I-95 and should make for easy entrance and exit for the buses that will park there.

Pilgrims will have two options at the point of drop-off:
1) Pilgrims may walk (a little over four miles, about 1.5 to 2 hours at a casual walking pace) to the venue for the Mass, which will be held in Center City on Ben Franklin Parkway, or
2) There is a shuttle being run by the city of Philadelphia that will transport pilgrims to and from the Mass venue (from the stadium complex) for a $10 fee. We, the organizers of the pilgrimage, are in no way involved with that fee and don’t receive any monies or “commission” as a result of pilgrims using the SEPTA shuttle service. Note that if pilgrims wish to walk to the Mass but want the option of taking the bus back at the end of the day, pilgrims will still need to purchase the $10 SEPTA pass in advance.

Had we known about this shuttle fee when we placed our bus pilgrimage on sale back in June, we would have made it an option as part of our overall plan. Not knowing this until Aug. 24 means we’re simply going to pass this information along to pilgrims and present them with the choice of walking or taking the shuttle service. The original information we were given before we started ticket sales was that the parking lots would be two to three miles from the Mass venue. We regret any inconvenience this causes for our pilgrims.

If you are interested in obtaining a shuttle pass for transportation to and from the stadium complex, you will need to purchase it IN ADVANCE via the ticketing website via the “Register Here” link above; purchase the bus pass in the “Merchandise” section of our site. Those who bought pilgrimage tickets before this date can modify their registration to add the shuttle pass.

We have not yet been assigned our arrival time in Philadelphia, so we cannot yet announce our departure time. When we are given that information, we will notify all pilgrims.


Terms and Conditions 
Archdiocese of Baltimore/CR Media 
Bus/Train Pilgrimage to Papal Mass

1. The bus pilgrimage to Philadelphia to attend the papal Mass Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, is organized by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Cathedral Foundation Inc. (dba Catholic Review Media) and Maryland Golf Live Inc. (dba Drew’s Morning Dish), collectively, “the Pilgrimage Organizers.”

2. Planners in Philadelphia of the papal visit are expecting well over a million people at the Mass.

3. Due to the nature of the crowds expected at the Mass, the Pilgrimage Organizers cannot guarantee that anyone traveling with the group will see Pope Francis. Entrance to the Mass venue on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia will be open to all, and will not require a ticket. There may be auxiliary viewing areas with large-screen monitors if the main Mass area on the parkway is full. Even those admitted to the parkway will not be guaranteed to see the pope, other than on a monitor, due to the size of the venue. 

4. The Pilgrimage Organizers will provide competent transportation to and from drop-off point(s) in Philadelphia designated by the transportation coordinators for the World Meeting of Families, from which point(s) staff and volunteers for the papal visit and the World Meeting of Families will direct pilgrims to appropriate areas to view the Mass. Not all logistical details have been released at the time of the bus ticket sale.

5. Tickets for the one-day bus pilgrimage from the Archdiocese of Baltimore will go on sale online only Monday, June 29, at 10 a.m. via

6. Pick-up locations for the journey include points around the archdiocese, and, for an additional charge, an option to take an Amtrak train.

7. The cost of the daylong pilgrimage via bus is $99 for all ages.

8. The cost for the pilgrimage via train is $159 for adults, $154 for seniors (62 and older), and $119 for children (ages 2-12). 

9. Once the purchase is made, there are no refunds. The original purchaser may go to the ticket portal and change the registration to transfer the tickets to another person by modifying the registration.

10. Anyone under the age of 18, on the bus or train, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

11. Bus locations:

Bus pick-up spots should have plenty of free parking, but pilgrims are encouraged to arrive by carpool if possible. Pick-up locations (departure times to be determined) will be:

  1. Calvert Hall College High School, 8102 La Salle Road, Towson.
  2. Holy Family Parish, 826 W. Central Road, Davidsonville;
  3. SOLD OUT! FNP parking lot, 351 Ballenger Center Dr., Frederick (courtesy Frederick News Post).

12. Train location:

SOLD OUT! The train will depart Baltimore Penn Station, 1500 N. Charles St., Sept. 27, 6:08 a.m. (check in 4:30-5:10 a.m.). The return trip will leave Philadelphia 30th Street Station at 9:30 p.m., scheduled to arrive in Baltimore at 10:38 p.m. Penn Station has on-site parking for a fee. The Philadelphia 30th Street Station is about a mile by foot from the parkway where Mass will be celebrated. 

13. All pilgrims traveling with the archdiocesan group, coordinated by Catholic Review Media, will receive a special rosary created for the event; a commemorative hat, bottled water for the Mass and return, a drawstring tote bag, and possibly other goods and services.

14. No coolers allowed.

15. All buses carrying pilgrims into and out of Philadelphia the weekend of Sept. 26-27 will have to register in advance. On the day of the events, all registered vehicles will be assigned entry and exit times to Philadelphia and assigned parking areas. 

16. All bus operators used by the Pilgrimage Organizers will be registered, but designated entry time(s) have not yet been assigned, so the buses’ departure time from Maryland is not determined at this time. Departure time may be very early in the morning. Return time will be after 10 p.m.

17. It is the responsibility of each pilgrim to get to the designated pick-up spot as soon as possible after the Mass. Departures will be carefully coordinated and may not be able to be delayed. Any pilgrim who misses the designated pick up spot and time after the Mass may be responsible for his/her own transportation back to the original departure point in Maryland.  

18. The day will include a lot of walking, waiting and standing – and praying. Although not all details have been released, bus pilgrims can expect a two- to three-mile walk to and from the Mass site from the bus drop-off point in Philadelphia. Train pilgrims can expect at least a one-mile walk to and from the Mass site from the train station.

19. The pilgrimage will give Catholics an opportunity to join hundreds of thousands of people with the same focus: on Jesus and his church.

Each passenger must complete and sign the waiver before boarding the bus. No one will be allowed to board the bus without a signed waiver on file. Minors traveling must also have the signature of parent or legal guardian on the waiver.

Completed forms should be mailed to:
Catholic Review
ATTN Bus Pilgrimage 
PO Box 777, Baltimore, MD 21203

For more information, contact Catholic Review Media at, 443-524-3150,

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.